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Biotech Science

Banked Blood May Not Be As Effective As Hoped 116

Posted by kdawson
from the round-up-the-usual-vampires dept.
URSpider alerts us to two separate research reports published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences pointing to the rapid breakdown of nitric oxide in donated blood as a reason why such blood loses its ability to transfer oxygen, and is sometime implicated in problems such as strokes and heart attacks. Nitric oxide depletion is significant after 3 hours of storage; yet current guidelines allow for storing donated blood for up to 42 days. The article notes: "Several of the researchers, including Stamler, have consulting and/or equity relationships with Nitrox/N30, a company developing nitric oxide based therapies."
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Banked Blood May Not Be As Effective As Hoped

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  • pros and cons (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @05:21PM (#20917647) Homepage Journal
    Let me weigh up the situation here:

    Die due to running out of blood.
    Survive because someone donated blood.

    I realise that the length of time is a factor and you want the freshest possible, but beggars can't be choosers.
    • Re:pros and cons (Score:4, Insightful)

      by AusIV (950840) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @05:25PM (#20917699)
      Not only that, we've been transfusing blood for decades. If guidelines allow for storing blood up to 42 days, and people survive after being given 41 day old blood, I fail to see why the requirements should be changed.
      • I'm just guessing here (didn't rtfa), but it seems like some people might be affected by the discrepancy while others aren't. Kinda like how some people are allergic to bees and we still try to help them, even though Most people don't have a problem.
      • Re:pros and cons (Score:5, Informative)

        by nursegirl (914509) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @05:46PM (#20918019) Journal

        The problem listed in the article is an increase in heart attacks and strokes post-transfusion. Time's more complete article [time.com] says that 25% of blood donor recipients have heart attacks within the 30 days post-transfusion, as opposed to 8% of patients who came in to the emergency with similar conditions, but did not get a blood transfusion.

        When the problem shows itself over the 30 days post-transfusion, it can be hard for medical researchers to notice and research the issue. I'd suggest (assuming this research has been done properly), having my probability of MI increase from less than 1 in 10 to 1 in 4, would make me want them to consider altering the requirements, whether it be by providing more new blood, or by artificially adding Nitric Oxide (not Nitrous Oxide, as the summary claims).

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by stapedium (228055)
          Yes but did they control for the reason the people received a transfusion. Its not like the ER just gives everyone that walks through the door with chest pain a transfusion. There is an underlying reason for each of those transfusions that probably made them at higher risk for stroke or and MI (things like being on blood thinners because of previous heart attacks, blood clots, or strokes).

          I would guess that people who received blood transfusions are also at higher risk for pneumonia and cancer.

          And if NO w
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by nursegirl (914509)
            From Time:

            The trend affects almost every group of critically ill patients -- from trauma sufferers in the ER to heart attack victims, patients with anemia and those undergoing chemotherapy. ... "After you control for sickness and all sorts of things, patients who receive transfusions still have more heart attacks. It makes no sense," says Dr. Jonathan Stamler, a professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Center.

            It'll be interesting to see whether the research proves that oral nitrates will be effect

        • by DrYak (748999) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @08:06PM (#20919555) Homepage
          Nitric Oxide (NO, not NO2 or N2O) [wikipedia.org] is a small molecule that is used by the body as a messenger that causes blood vessels to dilate. It is a messenger that is naturally produced by the body.

          In natural circumstance, for exemple, it is produced during effort to divert blood to region where it is needed (because the adrenaline has a global effect of closing the blood vessels).
          In medicine, products that create NO like Nitroglycerin are used to dilate vessels and increase blood flow to the heart in case of angor (not enough blood in the heart muscle because of cholestrerol-clogged arteries).
          Sildenafil (Viagra) is an inhibitor which stops the destruction of NO, thus maintaining enough level of NO, so the vessels are dilate and there's enough blood flow to fill the penis and provide erection.

          Yes, if there's not enough NO, a stroke may appear. That's why Nitro-glycerine is given to avoid it.
          Yes, transfused blood is more dense than other substance that can be injected to compsensate blood loss (other substance = Ringer solution = physiological serum = basically isotonic sterile salty water with some additional sugar thrown in). And this increased viscosity may increase the risk of stroke.

          Now, just concentrate for a moment : to whom are you going to transfuse blood / perfuse physiological serum ?
          People who lost a lot of liquid (bleeding wounds, burns, etc.).
          Why ?
          Because their blood pressure is dropping and there is a risk of shock (= schematically, not enough blood pressure to irrigate brain and other important organs).
          Now, all /. (not only medical geeks, but also people who watch medical shows like ER and House. Not Grey's Anatomy) know that, in those circumstance, dilating the blood vessels by adding NO is the last thing you want to do, because the dilatation will drop the blood pressure again. In fact what you give those people is adrenaline, which *contracts* the vessels, and cause the pressure the rise back to the normal. But as said before, contraction increase the risk of not enough blood flow in the coronary arteries, thus risk of stroke.

          Now to go back to the situation, all the people from the study cited by the Times had (supposedly - didn't read the actual study yet) low blood pressure. Some got blood transfusion, other did not (I suppose they recieved physiological solutions instead).

          25% of the blood reciever had heart attacks.
          It may be caused, as the sponsor would like us to believe (the company makes NO products), because NO binds to hemoglobine [wikipedia.org] and helps releasing oxygen. And thus the transfused blood was useless because it didn't have enough NO to release enough oxygen. In this case we should buy the company's NO products.
          BUT :
          - Why didn't the physiological receiving patient had problems ? Physiological serum doesn't carry oxygen at all. If NO-less blood is useless at transporting oxygen, non-oxygen-transporting solutions should too...
          - Where they compared against a 3rd group receiving only fresh (NO-rich) blood ? No. Where they compared against 4th group receiving NO enriched non-fresh blood ? No, this was only done in lab rats.
          - NO is something produced by the body when needed and has a short life (3 hours as they said in stored sample). Presence or absence of NO in the blood can hardly explain stroke happening 30 days later, after 3 hours the NO contained in the transfused blood is already degraded and replaced by NO produced by the patient.
          - Other ligands can also increase release of O2 : temperature, CO2, products of degradation of glucose. Hemoglobine has a lot of different way to guess that some body regions are burning a lot of oxygen and that the hemoglobin-bound oxygen should be released more easily.
          - Also note that their explanation can only account for the brain hypoxia (lack of oxygen), not the stroke itself (clogged vessels).

          On the othe
          • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

            by Eivind Eklund (5161)
            Very nice post. Thanks.
          • by gonzoxl5 (88685)
            your post almost redefines the term informative, thankyou.
          • Very informative and clarifying explanation. However, after reading it, all I can think about is how much fun I could have with a bunch of nitroglycerin and Viagra.
          • Nerd persistence + exacting medical knowledge == CRAZY INFORMATIVE
          • by jafac (1449)
            True.

            And what REALLY sucks about this - is that this "news" was all over CNN and the others this morning.

            And now, it's going to be in malpractice suits, and people are going to be demanding it, no matter what the experimental data show - and this may actually INCREASE patient deaths, while increasing costs. And hospital boards are going to adopt it because this is what the market demands, not what produces the best outcomes (plus it's another line-item on the bill that they can pad with their own exhorbita
          • by Epi-man (59145)
            Sorry, but I saw too many spelling, grammar, and homonym errors to not correct them. I figured such a great post deserved it.

            In natural circumstance, for exemple, it is produced during effort to divert blood to region where it is needed (because the adrenaline has a global effect of closing the blood vessels).

            circumstances, example, regions

            In medicine, products that create NO like Nitroglycerin are used to dilate vessels and increase blood flow to the heart in case of angor (not enough blood in the heart m

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by nbritton (823086)
          Take some low dose, enteric-coated, aspirin if your worried about your blood clotting after a transfusion.
        • by slater86 (1154729)
          I have heard of people living a health life after having a heart attack but i've never heard of people living a healthly life after being dead (e.g.lack of blood and all).

          I think i'd prefer the heart attack thanks.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by sjames (1099)

          ays that 25% of blood donor recipients have heart attacks within the 30 days post-transfusion, as opposed to 8% of patients who came in to the emergency with similar conditions, but did not get a blood transfusion.

          First, those figures apply only to heart disease patients, so are likely on the edge anyway. The stats presented do need to be looked at, but there can be many reasons for the differences that have nothing to do with NO levels. For example, increasing the blood viscosity (by adding red blood c

          • by fractoid (1076465)

            Alternatively, if it IS the NO levels, nitroglycerine is dirt cheap in comparison to any new drug and may be just as effective.
            Nitroglycerine? Just make sure not to chew the tablet, and DEFINITELY don't exercise for half an hour afterwards!
    • Re:pros and cons (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Vellmont (569020) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @05:30PM (#20917779)

      Let me weigh up the situation here:

      Die due to running out of blood.
      Survive because someone donated blood.


      Or the third possibility, which this article is likely addressing:

      Receive a nitric oxide injection that's packaged along with the blood in addition to the blood transfusion, and have an even better chance of surviving than blood alone.

      Why do you think there's only two possibilities?
      • by perlchild (582235)
        He didn't read the summary, it was in there with the comment about Nitrox and the article having potential for bias.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by virtualXTC (609488)
        I imagine the company being consulted (being a nitric oxide vendor) would is actually pushing for the blood be infused with nitric oxide.
        I don't see injections of nitric oxide being pushed as, the nitric oxide pathway is the same one that Viagra works on.
      • Why do you think there's only two possibilities?

        Clearly the first possibility is the conservative policy, because we shouldn't be playing god with people's blood. The second possibility is the liberal policy, because we get medical treatment, but it's substandard and poorly thought out. There may be a third possibility, but hippies throwing away their vote on it is pointless and will just help fascist hospital administrators suspend our rights to Healthius Corpus altogether.

    • Re:pros and cons (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nursegirl (914509) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @05:35PM (#20917847) Journal
      Actually, the situation is closer to:

      1) Potentially die due to running out of blood (although many blood recipients aren't at death's door when they receive transfusions)
      2) Potentially die post-transfusion from a heart attack or stroke
      3) Potentially receive added nitric oxide, once study of this matter has moved forwards.

      Shouldn't the goal of medical research be that we don't have medical beggars, but instead that anyone can have the best possible options?
    • by njfuzzy (734116)
      I think the point is more, how to we make the survival rate even better. Not every problem means chosing to avoid a solution.
    • Re:pros and cons (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @06:33PM (#20918627) Homepage
      Already hospitals prefer to use fresh blood in transfusions, and when they can predict the need they get fresh blood when possible. I myself have been called by the local Blood & Tissue Center to donate blood for a child's operation that was going to be performed the next day. It wasn't a general supply issue; my blood type is A+, the second most common in the U.S. and when I asked they said they had plenty. It's just that since they knew of the need in advance they could afford to take the time to call me up for some of my fresh blood.

      If the results of this study bear out, then it may just mean that hospitals are even more likely to try to get a fresh donation prior to any surgery that may require a transfusion. E.R. is still going to have to deal with whatever supply they have on hand when someone comes through the doors, though maybe there are procedural changes they can make to help ensure that they use newer blood by preference?
  • no huhu (Score:4, Funny)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @05:23PM (#20917671) Homepage Journal
    just keep these handy [hawkinsspeedshop.com] in the operating rooms.
  • by jimwelch (309748) <jimwelchok@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @05:25PM (#20917693) Homepage Journal
    As point out in the article, the study was funded by a company that makes a "drug" to fix this!
    • "This is an important observation and it needs to be followed up," said Dr. Louis Katz, a past president of America's Blood Centers, which provides about half the nation's blood."

      Not exactly. From America's Blood Center's website profile:
      "Founded in 1962, America's Blood Centers (ABC) is North America's largest network of non-profit, community blood centers."

      Note the word "network". They are a trade organization - "America's Blood Centers" doesn't "provide" blood products - their members do.

      The largest "p
      • by phorm (591458)
        Note the word "network". They are a trade organization - "America's Blood Centers" doesn't "provide" blood products - their members do

        An organization is often representative of its members. See RIAA, MPAA

        Not that this study shouldn't bear some thought, but it perhaps take it with a grain of salt.
      • by PCM2 (4486)

        Regardless of who said what to whom, there is never enough blood in the system for more than a few days.

        Indeed. I am blood type O+. This is one of the most common types of blood. One might conclude, then, that I don't need to worry so much about giving blood, because there's plenty of it out there. But that's flawed logic; if more people in the world have type O+ and car accidents (for example) are randomly distributed across the entire population, then it stands to reason that type O+ blood is in much g

        • I'm sure your local blood bank would say exactly the same thing regardless of what type you were asking after.
        • IINAD but I belive what is really in demand is O- because it is what they give patients who need blood ASAP and who are of unknown blood group.

          IIRC O+ can be given to anyone with a positive blood group so if A+ or B+ runs out they can use O+ but if O+ runs out they can't use A+ or B+.
      • To sell blood? I fully support giving blood, but what's the point if it's just going to be sold at a profit? I'm not in the habit of giving charitable donations to corporations.
        • by R2.0 (532027)
          "Don't you find it rather creepy...To sell blood? I fully support giving blood, but what's the point if it's just going to be sold at a profit? I'm not in the habit of giving charitable donations to corporations."

          Absolutely. I mean, what costs are there in the blood going straight from your arm to the recipient?

          I mean, yeah, there's the person who draws your blood, and the one who drives the truck, and the folks who process it into components, and the ones who test it. But their all selfish bastards, want
          • You're leaking stupid all over the place.

            We operate a fully non-profit blood donation system in Canada.
            • by R2.0 (532027)
              Who's stupid here? My post was pointing out that the various US blood banks are all non profit. But that doesn't mean their expenses don't need to get paid somehow.

              I assume that you are referring to the fact that Canadian Blood services doesn't "charge" for their blood. Well, since the CBS is fully government funded, and the blood goes to the health system hospitals - also government funded - so why would the government pay itself? The US system is different, with various blood banks charging the hospi
        • by Seedy2 (126078)
          I've been around blood bankers most of my life, I know that some hospitals are for profit, but most of the blood bankers I know work for non-profit organizations.
          So a charitable donation to a charitable organization isn't all that bad.

          And there are foundations who will take your monetary donations if you don't like to donate blood, or cannot for some reason.
        • Then give your blood to the Red Cross. They are a non-profit organization.

          Yes, as R2.0 points out, they do pay their electric bill, they pay their employees, they pay for the equipment they use, and every other cost of doing business; and they do charge hospitals for the blood, to cover these costs. "Non-profit" doesn't mean that no one makes a profit (for example, the employees deserve to profit from their time and effort), it only means that the company itself doesn't make a profit. In other words,
      • Er, I think grandparent was referring to

        Several of the researchers, including Stamler, have consulting and/or equity relationships with Nitrox/N30, a company developing nitric oxide based therapies.
        The research might very well be 100% valid, but that's not something that instills confidence that they're unbiased.
    • the study was funded by a company that makes a "drug" to fix this!
      Drug, shmug. The aliens from "V" were right - the only way to get blood is fresh blood.
  • Blood doping? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by drunken_boxer777 (985820) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @05:27PM (#20917731)
    So am I to believe that all of a sudden blood doping isn't as effective either?

    Perhaps the blood is not as efficient as it could be in transferring oxygen, but I would think that it is still pretty damn useful.

  • Several of the researchers, including Stamler, have consulting and/or equity relationships with Nitrox/N30, a company developing nitric oxide based therapies.
    I only post this because I have heard so much over the decades about how blood transfusions have saved lives. Now I read this and have to wonder. My skepticism is tempered, but still present.
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by Mattintosh (758112)
      Little known fact: the first blood transfusion was a complete and utter failure.

      It was for one of the popes, and they drew blood from 3 young boys and fed it to the pope. Yes, fed it to him. The pope died, since he simply digested the blood rather than being able to use it as blood. The boys... well... they died from infections from being bled out to feed a dying pope their blood.

      Great story, huh? Death by bleeding and infection: It makes pedophilic anal rape seem like nothing in comparison. Gotta love thos
      • Multiple Sources...Looks to be true tho the church disputes it.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_transfusion [wikipedia.org]

        Early attempts

        The first historical attempt at blood transfusion was described by the 15th-century chronicler Stefano Infessura. Infessura relates that, in 1492, as Pope Innocent VIII sank into a coma, the blood of three boys was infused into the dying pontiff (through the mouth, as the concept of circulation and methods for intravenous access did not exist at that time) at the suggestion of a physici
    • It works great, but just not as well as your own blood. When administered, you will see a persons heart rate decrease if they are tachycardic(fast heart rate) from a low hemoglobin (blood count). The blood definitely does work, but probably only 60-80% as effective as regular blood.
    • by PCM2 (4486)

      I only post this because I have heard so much over the decades about how blood transfusions have saved lives. Now I read this and have to wonder.

      I don't get it. What is it about this brand-new proposed therapy that makes you suspect that the therapy that has been used for years and years does not save lives?

      If blood transfusions don't save lives, then what the hell else has kept all those people alive? Were they just mutants who didn't need as much blood as you or I?

  • by travisd (35242) <<ten.sabut> <ta> <dsivart>> on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @05:28PM (#20917761) Homepage
    The article is referring to Nitric Oxide - NO -- not Nitrous Oxide - N2O
    • by Seakip18 (1106315)
      Yep. That'd be something different. Maybe that's the excuse for the editing?
    • by Dogtanian (588974)

      The article is referring to Nitric Oxide - NO -- not Nitrous Oxide - N2O
      I was going to mod this up funny- then I wondered what I was laughing at and realised that the nurses had plugged me in to the wrong gas cylinder.

      I hope they got it right the second time around- let me check. Nitrogen Dioxide? That doesn't sound right... nurse! Nurse! Nu

      NO CARRIER
    • by necro81 (917438)

      The article is referring to Nitric Oxide - NO -- not Nitrous Oxide - N2O

      Quite right. The difference is pretty important.

      Nitric Oxide is used to improve perfusion in people on respirators. It is particularly useful in premature babies in the NICU [google.com], whose lungs are not as well developed and have difficulty absorbing enough oxygen and can suffer from pulmonary hypertension. In general, NO relaxes the smooth muscle in arteries, making it a vasodilator. It is rapidly absorbed and deactivated by hemoglo

    • I can only imagine that giving a guy a nitrous oxide injection would result in... well, ever play Bioshock?
  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @05:36PM (#20917865) Homepage Journal
    1. This is a study with participants highly linked to a firm that makes money off of adding NO to blood products. They have financial and other incentives to find a "lack" of NO in stored blood.

    2. As with any study, an independent study should be done to see if this is verifiable and repeatable. This should be done by a lab that is not financially or otherwise linked to the NO additive firm aforementioned.

    3. The other thing to look at is method of storage, temperature, and other conditions - did they conform to current standards, did they vary these elements, and was this independently audited?
    • Well, not having read the study I can not comment on its significance; however, there is far more to blood transfusion dangers than NO depletion.

      Lets get to some significant points: NO is produced locally at the tissues that need it.

      RBC fragility is likely more significant than the effects of one vasodilator

      Multiple unnecessary (or necessary) transfusions may lead to iron overload similar to that found in people with hemachromatosis

      TRALI

      I am not attacking their work, but t

    • by sco08y (615665)
      1. This is a study with participants highly linked to a firm that makes money off of adding NO to blood products. They have financial and other incentives to find a "lack" of NO in stored blood.

      Or they found the lack of NO in stored blood and made the product to solve the problem. It's fine to look for corroborating evidence, but scientists at drug companies are just like scientists everywhere else and they really don't just make shit up for money. Kneejerk doubt isn't any more rational or wise than kneejer
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @05:45PM (#20918003)
    That's one poor summary.

    It's well known that packed red blood cells or whole blood is not as effective as fresh blood at transporting hemoglobin. This is because of several factors, notably shifts in 2,3-BPG, ATP, ADP during storage as well as partially due to the calcium citrate used to prevent clotting of the stored blood.

    While it isn't ideal, our current method is by far the safest way to give blood, simply because you cannot screen blood for deadly pathogens in the time it takes for blood to start to degrade. While many people have researched ways to shift the binding characteristics of stored blood back to fresh blood, and with some success on manipulation of hemoglobin's oxygen binding curves, overall the clinical effect for patients has been minimal.

    The nitrous-oxide pathway, to my knowledge, has not been tried yet, but I'd hate to have my blood pre-mixed with a drug that would kill a percentage of the patients who are candidates for blood transfusion. When someone is exsanguinating, you want to INCREASE their blood pressure, not decrease it.

    On the other hand, in ischemic disease you do want to give nitro, in certain situations, but preferably not pre-mixed with the blood, and we already do this, just not in strokes, yet.
  • There was a similar problem with fluorocarbon based blood substitutes in that they also increased the risk of stroke. perhaps this problem with nitrogen monoxide is the cause of the higher risk of stroke
  • Blood transfusions have been going on for something like a century. A lot more successful once they figured out the compatible blood types.

    Now this "news report" would have us believe that there's been a problem all this time, and either nobody did any research on it, or if they did they were total numbskulls to not see the connection between lowered oxygen efficacy and the lowering of chemical X.

    Smells a teeensy bit fishy.

    • by nursegirl (914509)
      It's actually remarkably difficult to notice trends that happen "in the first 30 days after a transfusion," because there's so many health issues to control for. So, whether this is true or not (I RTFA but not the journal article it's based on), I can understand why it would take a long time to realize that there was a correlation between blood older than 1 day and heart attacks/stroke.
  • Also, it doesn't taste as good.
  • When my wife lost 2/3 of the blood in her body, those extra pints they put in her didn't do anything at all. Well, other than keep her alive. Sheesh, to think that's *all* it did. Crappy, old blood.
    • by Jesus_666 (702802)
      Well, it might also have given her a healthier skin tone. At least healthier than without blood.

      Blood: The cosmetic you just can't live without.
  • where we can store extra humans, or perhaps clones to insure proper blood type and rely on their parts when we real people need to be repaired.
    • by rebelcan (918087)
      And these clones, we can tell them they're going to an awesome tropical paradise whenever we need to harvest parts.

      And we'll store them in a bunker. Out in the Nevada desert ( dessert? ).
  • Does banked blood last longer than a DVD-backup?
  • This is exactly why I get all my blood fresh.
  • Whatever happened to artificial blood? I've been reading/hearing about this shit for years. Most of the reports are it's close to being ready or ready right now. Then it just vanishes. It's like someone pulls the plug on it. This would solve all the problems with blood shortage, blood going bad, and blood being tainted. It other words, everything.

    • I just recently read an article about this in Popular Science. There are actually a handful of new artificial bloods. My understanding is that they're in the process of getting federal approval. One even has the advantage of working for anyone of any blood type. If they get approved I'm sure it won't be too long before they replace a typical transfusion. Given the choice between old, possibly disease ridden blood, and fresh, fake blood - I'll take the fake. (And yes, I know they screen the blood used in tra
  • The nitric oxide causes the blood vessels to relax and allow more blood to flow. It doesn't matter how much O2 the red blood cell carries, if it can't get where it's headed, it might as well be covered in cyanide.

    As another poster said, if you're bleeding out, you want to replace blood as fast as possible. Opening the blood vessels would just make the bleeding worse. Yes, blood transfusions save lives. There is no argument about that. They're not saying that transfusions are bad; in fact, they're asking f

  • While Dr. Stamler's supposition is interesting, I would like to see the data and not an AP or Time magazine story. A search of "JS Stamler" on Pubmed shows 183 papers - 30 of which as first author and almost all dealing with NO. I would guess that he is probably an authority on NO. But that in and of itself does not mean that he is an authority on transfusion medicine, trauma care, surgery, or the like. I am interested to see which variables were controlled, what the power of the study was, and in what
  • by DrStoooopid (1116519) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @11:22PM (#20921593)
    ..naturally I'm biased.

    I work in I.T. for ARC, but previous to that, I worked on the front lines, collecting the blood.

    Allow me to give you a mini-tour.

    First, the donor is required to read and acknowledge that they've read the health history guidelines.

    Then the donor is required to get their vitals checked, answer several health related questions.

    At that point the donor is placed on the donor bed. Their information is rechecked for accuracy.

    Their arm is scrubbed using a two-step method.

    The venipuncture is performed.

    Now here's the important part. The blood comes into the bad which is filled with an anti-coagulant solution, and for it to be a "good unit"...we can only collect so much blood/per anti-coag...the entire unit is measured by weight @ 610g +/- 5% (for a proper whole blood to anti-coag solution). I may be slightly off on the ratio, it's been a while.

    Then the unit is packed on ice, and maintained at a constant temperature.

    Then the blood goes to the production lab, where the platelets and plasma are expressed and harvested for other uses.

    The red blood cells are then introduced to a red cell preservative, (this is the part that makes the blood viable for 42 days)

    The units are then either flash frozen, or they're placed in quarantine until the test results are back from the NTL (national testing lab).

    but here's the chink in the armor of the original poster's argument. Our blood supply is so low right now in the US, that his argument is a moot point. 99% of the time, the blood isn't even on the shelf that long. Every 2 seconds, someone in the U.S. needs a transfusion of packed red cells....someone like me, who is 0-, CMV-.....I'm pretty much fucked....there won't be any blood available for me. (so all you O-'s...please go donate...lol)...

    Anyway....yes, units do lose their potency over time...but part of the process is to ensure that the donor is healthy, and this helps ensure that when the blood is needed it will be as potent as possible.

    At the American Red Cross, we make every effort to make sure that there's blood available when it's needed, where it's needed, and provide the best quality units, at the cheapest price, and make every effort to ensure that it's potent, and safe....that's from the very top of the food chain all the way down the janitors...we all love what we do, and we save lives.

    That's not to say that occasionally there might be a 1/1,000,000 unit that didn't do the job, but I like those odds

  • Donating to Yourself (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @11:48PM (#20921865) Homepage Journal
    "Autologous" donations are donations extracted from you when you're healthy enough, like in advance of surgery, for use later, like when you need it during/after surgery. Currently, it's infrequent, and suffers from the same problems (possibly) identified by this study after a while.

    But if you donated blood in advance of surgery, and it were used within a few hours, you could get a credit for blood later on when you need it urgently. If everyone scheduled for surgery were required to donate blood in advance (if they were healthy enough to do so), there would be so much blood available all the time that the fresh stuff would never be in short supply.

    The infrastructure is in place right now. The techniques are nearly the same, just a tiny little DB and fridge shuffling to keep the fresh stuff flowing, and discard the extra as it ages.

    All that's required to permanently end the incessant "blood shortages" and blood drives that could work on something else instead, would be making these donations a requirement.
  • Ingredients:
    1 packet of stored donated blood
    2 scoops of NitroTech Hardcore Chocolate powder
    16 oz. 2% fat milk

    Method:
    Mix all ingredients in a blender and transfuse intravenously. Patient will recover instantly and hit the gym.

    CAUTION:
    Do not use on patients with hernia problems. Hitting gym post transfusion may aggravate condition.
  • Since Viagra (and smilar drugs) are meant to be some sort of Nitric Oxide booster, maybe adding a small dose of this will keep the patients alive (horny as hell, but alive)!

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